First time for me…

It’s nice to know that there are still ‘fiber firsts’ in my life, after all my years of playing with textiles. Until today, I had never made a book cover!

As usual, I tripped over some fabric and that triggered the idea. I’ve saved cut-offs from quilts that have been trimmed up, knowing that someday I would use them for something! Today was the day.

Started out like this, overlapping some pieces and butting together others.

It changed a tiny bit in the construction, but this was the general configuration. I thought that I would embellish it like crazy, but changed my mind. This will end up as a gift and I’m not sure the recipient would like that as much as I would. For this first one, I’ll stick with colorful and plain!

This was so fun and easy that I want to make more! Wish I had a book collection to cover up. Oh, goodness…maybe I’ll make an art journal…another thing that I never, ever thought I’d make. Hmmmm….it could happen!

Ahead of myself…

I published two posts on the same day, and it’s not because I’m doing so much or have that much to show you. It’s just that I didn’t pay attention to the dates on the scheduler. I knew I’d miss a day or two while I painted the bathroom and did some yard work, so I thought I’d be smart and space things out…does not work if you don’t pay attention to details!

Last night I could not stand it any more! I haven’t done any sewing or quilting to speak of for quite a while, so I headed down to the studio to do something–anything–with thread and needle or machine! I’ve been making things with the same pile of scraps for so long that I couldn’t face them anymore, but I had a small piece all set to be quilted, so that’s what I did!

I felt like I was learning how to quilt all over again, so I stuck with what was easiest. All over spirals and spiral squares make me feel very comfortable. I can almost do them in my sleep.

I used a new variegated thread, since there was already every color under the sun in the top, and my favorite lime green in the bobbin. Of course my hubby always likes the back of a quilt when you can see the quilting very clearly!

So simple and yet so satisfying when you are hungry for a bit of sewing! I’m not sure, yet, but I may hang onto this one unfinished. There is a possibility that it could grow into something larger, since I have that huge pile of scraps that I would like to use up. The sad truth is that the scrap piles continue to grow and I’m just trying to fool myself into believing that I will ever in my lifetime use them all up!!! I guess the fun is in the trying, though, isn’t it?

I’m a victim!

Yes, indeed, I’m a victim of my own fabric addiction. I’ve been trying to use up my stash for quite a while now, but it really doesn’t seem any smaller. Today, much to my surprise, I fell victim to fabric lust and bought a bunch of fabric.

I take full responsibility for not being stronger, for not resisting. It was a darling little shop, out in the country–truly out in the middle of nowhere! But one of my Kokomo hostesses is the owner, and it was on our way home…need I say more?

I always say that every shop carries different fabrics, so we have to stop and see them all whenever we can. And I also need a full palette of fabrics and colors from which to work. Good reasons to get fabric, I think! Granted, almost everything in that shop could probably be found in one of my local shops, but I love the grunge line of fabrics and this place had more of them than I have ever seen in one place. I exercised great restraint in NOT buying some of every color, but I sure wanted to!

Here’s my little pile of goodies, with only 7 of the grunge colors! And there is a website, if I find I need something that I can’t find here! It’s The Scarlet Thread and the owner is the gracious Julie Boldry. Thanks for a fun visit, both at your shop and in Kokomo!

Guess what! The hotel had very interesting carpet, too. And you know that I love those carpet designs…

These need to be stamps, I think. And the curvy edge design…I really like it.

The ladies of the Kokomo Piecemaker’s Guild were delightful and the workshop was so much fun. However, I didn’t get one single picture. I’m not used to having my phone be my camera and quite frankly, I forgot to take any photos. I’m sorry because your designs were great!

But the best thing is that I’m home again! Always the nicest part of any trip!

Sew Day

Saturday was a sewing bee to use up the stash of our friend Kathy Sheldon, making quilts for charity. She would have had so much fun with us, so we enjoyed ourselves as much as possible using her fabric!

There were a number of people sewing, some cutting, some pressing and people came and went so I’m not sure of any totals.

Sue Gilmore, Kathy’s sister, got things set up and rolling.

We acted goofy when Jim tried to take a group picture!

Sue and Kathy’s relatives came in from the west side of the state, too!

Everything was done quilt as you go, with a table in front to show us how to do several strip piecing options.

As a block was finished, we rang the bell and counted the blocks. We finished enough blocks for two quilts and got started on a third!

And of course we had food!

My job became the ‘assembler’ since I know a very easy way to put those blocks together, thanks to Mari at The Quilting Edge. Here’s a link to the tutorial http://www.thequiltingedge.com/p/tutorials.html

Sue hopes to organize another sew day soon, but my calendar is pretty full and I’m not sure I’d make it. However, I’ll fill the gap by taking care of the ‘homework’–pretty appropriate since Kathy was a teacher!

You know how I just said the other day that I’m tired of working with scraps? Somehow it’s different and okay to be working with someone else’s scraps and making quilts for charity!

Scrap strip QAYG

After talking to my friend Sue about her plans to sew up her late sister’s stash, I was inspired to put my money where my mouth is and sew up some of my own scraps! (FYI, local people–we will be working on making charity quilts from Sue and her sister Kathy’s fabric on Saturday, April 22. Email me if you would like more info!)

I thought making things Quilt As You Go would be a super fast way to use a lot of fabric and have things quilted and pieced at the same time.

My plan was to make a baby quilt out of the pile of bright scraps that I had culled from my stash. Do I need to tell you that I have more fabric than I thought I did? More about that dilemna later…So, you start with a chunk of backing fabric, which for me was a yard of a stripe. I cut it into three strips, width of fabric, each about 12″ wide. On top of each strip I placed a corresponding strip of batting and then proceeded to sew and flip scrap strips at an angle across the strip. As you can see, the strips don’t have to be the same width at all, either.

 

I started in the middle of each strip and kept adding out from each side until the backing was covered. Here’s what my first two strips looked like.

And you can see that they are quilted when you look at the back.

They don’t always have to be placed on an angle, of course. They can be straight across, which means the strips can be a few inches shorter.

Before and after trimming…just trim along the edge if you started with a nice, straight piece, or trim to a size you want.

I’m not going to give you the QAYG instructions here, but I’ll give you the link to the master of the easy QAYG!

http://www.thequiltingedge.com/p/tutorials.html

Now I have a small quilt, about 34 x 40. I could simply bind it and pass it along to the next person who needs a baby quilt. OR I could continue to use up the pile of bright scraps that never seems to get any smaller! This method allows me to add more sections, or borders, or even insert a section down the middle, as long as I want to continue. You may be able to see that I added some additional quilting down the length of each strip and I may add even a bit more, because I like a lot of quilting. However, it has sufficient stitching in the construction that it really doesn’t need any more.

This took me one afternoon to make, so that you have an idea of how quickly this goes. I hope we can make a huge dent in the fabric that Sue has…I’m sure Kathy would approve of using her stash this way!

What a good day!

I finished the quilting on the orange and white quilt. That was a good thing. And THEN…

I got the binding done on the orange and white AND the triangle quilt!

Of course I do my binding all by machine, but it was still a good feeling to get both quilts finished!

Took a quick look at the pile of scraps I had on the table before the retreat weekend and I think I’ll go ahead and work on a quilt using them up.

Here’s the start—

Not too exciting, is it? There will be lots more next time! Quilt as you go, strippy scraps, bright colors…how much fun can I handle?!!!

Discovering UFO’s

Our Creative Seasons art quilt group celebrated 10 years together this week. We were supposed to bring in any UFO’s that were that old or older. Very interesting to see what everyone brought. And I was very interested to see what I had on my shelves! I hung up the ones that I think I might finish someday!!!

There were more than a few that I will absolutely never finish, and those are going to the charity quilt table at the guild.  I will never, ever finish these, but there were not as many as I thought. I feel guilty about putting them on the charity quilt table without finishing them for charity, but I just cannot get motivated to even start on these particular tops! Someone else may really like them…hey! It could happen!

I even found one that I have absolutely NO memory of ever making! I know I made it, because it’s all from fabrics that I had and used, but any conscious thoughts of making it? Nope!

These two were mystery quilts, made at retreats. I had fun making them, but whenever you make a mystery quilt, your fabric choices are not always the best fit for the eventual result.

These next two were a pattern I was teaching at the quilt store. I didn’t like the first one, so I made the second and I like it much better. The first one is large enough for a charity quilt and the second one may make it to a shelf in my closet!

This top was one of the first ones I made when I started doing improv and curved seams. When I got it on the wall, it was quite different than I remembered it! I do still like it, and it may get finished this summer.

I’ve pretty much always been a fan of pink, and this next one is really pink!

I even have the binding made for this one, as well as some others!

To get to the shelf that all these UFO’s were ‘marinating’ on, I had to move the box of unsorted scraps. I have regular scrap bins, sorted by color, but somehow the unsorted box stays just as full as can be! Well, whenever I touch that box, it seems that the elements of another quilt jump out. This time it was bright scraps from many children’s quilts made over the years.

Sigh! Whenever this happens, I feel COMPELLED to get a top made. Hope that box gets emptied someday soon!